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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingResidents of a Salt Lake County mobile home park are fighting to stay in their neighborhood. As we first reported in July, the new owner bought the land to build condos. But many seniors and disabled residents live in the park and they're vowing to fight for what they want.
The Park Hill Mobile Home Park looks like a calm and peaceful neighborhood, but residents there are fired up.
Resident: “I’m willing to do just about anything to save what I believe is mine to save.”
Virginia Martinez, Community Action Program: “This is the United States of America. You can’t put seniors out on the streets. You can’t put people with disabilities out on the streets.”
The park houses 25 trailers, but the neighbors don't own their land. In June a new developer informed residents they had three months to move out. That date came and went and the residents stayed put.
Wanda Mae Smith, Mobile Home Resident: “I've lived here since 1936. I was the third trailer in this park. This is like our own house, you see. If you live in an apartment, it's not like that. You're renting somebody else's unit."
And many residents have invested a lot of time and effort into their homes.
LaVerle Robbins, Mobile Home Resident: “I've completely carpeted and tiled floors."
LaVerle Robbins has a beautiful patio and garden. Inside ornate pictures hang on the walls and photos of her family adorn the fireplace. Residents say it would be difficult and expensive to move these trailers to another park. But they say the worst part of moving would be breaking up their neighborhood.
Wanda Mae Smith: “People like each other. We all like each other, you know. We take care of each other."
Cynthia Chadwick, Mobile Home Resident: “If anything goes wrong with one person, everybody’s there for them to help them out with anything.”
The developer originally offered the residents $1500 as moving expenses, but he says that offer expired. With a mortgage and management fees he says he's losing money on the property. Now he's raised rent two hundred dollars. Though many resident say they can't pay it, they're not giving up. They're intent on finding a way to keep their homes.
The residents have gone to the County Council for help. Council member Randy Horiuchi says they're working on a plan to help the residents.